It's impossible to understand the resumption of the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna without considering the serious inner turbulence of the Biden administration.
Everyone and his neighbor are aware of Tehran's straightforward expectations: all sanctions – no exceptions – must be removed in a verifiable manner. Only then will the Islamic Republic reverse what it terms 'remedial measures,' that is, ramping up its nuclear program to match each new American 'punishment.'
The reason Washington isn't tabling a similarly transparent position is because its economic circumstances are, bizarrely, far more convoluted than Iran's under sanctions. Joe Biden is now facing a hard domestic reality: if his financial team raises interest rates, the stock market will crash and the US will be plunged into deep economic distress.
Panicked Democrats are even considering the possibility of allowing Biden's own impeachment by a Republican majority in the next Congress over the Hunter Biden scandal.
According to a top, non-partisan US national security source, there are three things the Democrats think they can do to delay the final reckoning:
First, sell some of the stock in the Strategic Oil Reserve in coordination with its allies to drive oil prices down and lower inflation.
Second, 'encourage' Beijing to devalue the yuan, thus making Chinese imports cheaper in the US, "even if that materially increases the US trade deficit. They are offering trading the Trump tariff in exchange." Assuming this would happen, and that's a major if, it would in practice have a double effect, lowering prices by 25 percent on Chinese imports in tandem with the currency depreciation.